Samsung Still Has No Idea When the Galaxy Fold Will Launch

Samsung on Tuesday acknowledged that it is unable to provide a firm release date for its Galaxy Fold smartphone and has contacted pre-order customers in the United States to apologize for the delay (via Reuters).

"If we do not hear from you and we have not shipped by May 31st, your order will be canceled automatically," the South Korean tech giant's U.S. subsidiary told Galaxy Fold pre-order customers in an email late on Monday, which was confirmed by a Samsung spokeswoman.
In a statement given to Reuters, Samsung said that U.S. regulations required the company to notify customers that pre-orders would be canceled if the product did not ship by May 31.

The South Korean company originally planned to roll out its $1,980 foldable phone on April 26, but was forced to delay the launch after several units sent out to reviewers broke during testing.

After recalling the review units, Samsung contacted pre-order customers on April 22, saying it would announce a new release date "in the coming weeks" and would take measures to strengthen the display protection. The device's screen was shown to be vulnerable to debris ingress, thanks to an iFixit teardown that was later removed at Samsung's request.

The development is the latest in a series of embarrassing events for Samsung, whose hybrid tablet/smartphone was supposed to demonstrate the company leading innovation in the mobile space. Still, at least the device in its current state won't get into the hands of thousands of customers around the world, which would likely have turned into a larger problem.

Samsung has said it plans to make at least 1 million Galaxy Fold handsets in the first year of production, compared to the total 300 million phones it produces annually on average. It originally closed pre-orders for the device early because of "high demand."


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iFixit Removes Galaxy Fold Teardown at Samsung’s Request

iFixit has decided to pull its revealing Samsung Galaxy Fold teardown. The decision is said to have been made after Samsung indirectly requested its removal from the website, which published the teardown on Wednesday. iFixit provided the following statement on its blog:

We were provided our Galaxy Fold unit by a trusted partner. Samsung has requested, through that partner, that iFixit remove its teardown. We are under no obligation to remove our analysis, legal or otherwise. But out of respect for this partner, whom we consider an ally in making devices more repairable, we are choosing to withdraw our story until we can purchase a Galaxy Fold at retail.
It's unclear why Samsung wanted the teardown removed, but a few possibilities come to mind. Perhaps the company intends to make significant changes to the design of the Galaxy Fold before it's officially launched, and it doesn't want a teardown on the web of a device that's substantially different to the one that eventually goes to market. Or maybe it was simply taking action against a partner that hadn't been given the authority to provide the device to iFixit in the first place.

Another interpretation, offered by The Verge's Dieter Bohn, is that Samsung didn't appreciate the bad press that came with the teardown, after it exposed the design flaw allowing debris to ingress behind the display, which presumably caused so many review units to break, and led Samsung to recall them and then delay the device's launch. Whatever the reason, it doesn't look terribly good for the company.

Samsung has yet to offer a new release date for the Galaxy Fold. In an email sent on Wednesday to pre-order customers about the delayed launch, Samsung said that it will update customers with more specific shipping information in two weeks. In the meantime, anyone still interested in checking out iFixit's teardown can find it on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.


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iFixit Teardown of Samsung Galaxy Fold Reveals Likely Design Flaw

iFixit today published its teardown of Samsung's Galaxy Fold, offering more details on a potential flaw in the device, which has now been delayed following reports of several broken review units.

Essentially, it looks as though Samsung was so focused on perfecting the folding mechanism on the smartphone/tablet hybrid that it made a major oversight: providing adequate protection against the ingress of debris between the OLED screen and the chassis bezel.

To achieve the fold, the thin bezel that surrounds (and protects) the screen leaves a gap where the two halves meet... This 7 mm gap doesn't seem like a huge deal, but it leaves the display exposed—so should something accidentally enter, it's curtains for the screen. (Oops.)

When closed, the screen is protected—but the spine is flanked by massive gaps that our opening picks hop right into. These gaps are less likely to cause immediate screen damage, but will definitely attract dirt.
As iFixit notes, it will be interesting to see how future folding designs will overcome these weaknesses - if indeed they have a future. Following Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi revealed that they too will launch folding smartphones, and there are signs Apple is looking into the possibility of a foldable iPhone. Apple has filed several patent applications related to folding phones that variously fold inward, outward, and both inward and outward.

Potential point of entry for debris ingress (Image: iFixit)

As for the Galaxy Fold, the months ahead look increasingly uncertain. One day after Samsung said it was delaying the launch of the hybrid handset, the company announced that it would be retrieving all Fold devices that were distributed to reviewers.

Many reviewers experienced multiple issues while testing the device, including a random bulge appearing on the display, as well as flickering and failing screens. In many cases, the issues were enough to make the $1,980 device completely unusable.

In an email to pre-order customers about the delayed launch, Samsung said that it will update customers with more specific shipping information in two weeks. "Your pre-order guarantees your place in the queue for this innovative technology," the company promised.


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Samsung Retrieving Defective Galaxy Fold Review Units as it Works to Fix Display Issues Before Launch

One day after Samsung said it was delaying the public launch of the Galaxy Fold smartphone, the company has now announced that it will be retrieving all Galaxy Fold devices that were distributed to reviewers (via Reuters). For many reviewers, the Galaxy Fold proved to be an unreliable smartphone as the display experienced multiple issues while being tested.


These issues included a random bulge appearing on the display, as well as flickering and failing screens. In many cases, the issues were enough to make the Galaxy Fold devices completely unusable. Now, Samsung will retrieve these units and prepare for the re-launch of the smartphone at an unspecified date in the future. The Galaxy Fold was originally set to launch on April 26.
“On the bright side, we have an opportunity to nail down this issue and fix it before selling the phones to a massive audience, so they won’t have same complaints,” said a Samsung employee, speaking on condition of anonymity.
In a few cases, reviewers removed a protective layer on the smartphone's screen that looked similar to plastic films that are meant to be peeled off of displays after you open a device. For the Galaxy Fold, this layer is not meant to be removed, leading to some of the display issues.

Still, not every reviewer with a broken Galaxy Fold removed the plastic film, suggesting that there are multiple issues with the device that Samsung will have to address before a wide launch to the public. In an email to pre-order customers about the delayed launch, Samsung said that it will update customers with more specific shipping information in two weeks. "Your pre-order guarantees your place in the queue for this innovative technology," the company promised.

When it does launch, the Galaxy Fold will be available for $1,980.


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Galaxy Fold Launch Delayed Until ‘At Least Next Month’ After Display Failures

The Wall Street Journal reports that Samsung has delayed its launch of the Galaxy Fold until "at least next month" after multiple review units experienced sudden display failures while being tested by the media last week.

Todd Haselton/CNBC

Samsung initially said it remained committed to launching the Galaxy Fold on April 26, but the rollout is now expected in the "coming weeks." The company has yet to confirm the delay, but it wouldn't be surprising given that at least some of the folding smartphones appear to have a serious hardware issue.

Galaxy Fold launch events in Hong Kong and Shanghai have already been postponed, according to Engadget's Richard Lai.

Samsung earlier confirmed that it would "thoroughly inspect" the affected devices to determine the cause, but it has yet to provide an explanation. Samsung also cautioned that removing the protective layer on the display could cause damage, but some displays failed even with the protective layer in place.

The delay would be an embarrassing mishap for a smartphone that starts at $1,980, but the right move before the Galaxy Fold gets into the hands of thousands of customers around the world and potentially turned into a larger problem.


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Multiple Reviewers Facing Broken Galaxy Fold Devices After Just Days of Use

Samsung this week provided reviewers with Galaxy Fold devices for some hands-on time, and it appears the folding smartphone may be suffering from some serious flaws. Three of the reviewers who received a Galaxy Fold have already experienced failures, all of which focus on the display.

The Verge's Dieter Bohn says that his Galaxy Fold device broke after a random bulge appeared on the display, perhaps from a piece of debris that had gotten into the hinge. The debris, or whatever the bulge was, pressed into the display hard enough to break it.

Broken Galaxy Fold OLED display via The Verge

Bohn says that he did not mistreat the phone, doing "normal phone stuff" like putting it in a pocket and opening and closing the hinge.
It's a distressing thing to discover just two days after receiving my review unit. More distressing is that the bulge eventually pressed sharply enough into the screen to break it. You can see the telltale lines of a broken OLED converging on the spot where the bulge is.
Similarly, CNBC's Steve Kovach shared a video of his review unit displaying a flickering, failing screen after just a single day of use.


Bloomberg's Mark Gurman also ran into a catastrophic display failure. His Galaxy Fold is broken and unusable, appearing to feature some of the same screen failures as Kovach's unit.


In Gurman's case, he says that there was a protective layer on the screen that is not supposed to be removed, but this was not communicated to him. He took it off, which may have contributed to the problem. Well-known YouTuber Marques Brownlee says that he did the same thing because there was no warning in the box.


Not all of the reviewers with broken units removed the plastic film, however, so there are clearly multiple issues impacting the Galaxy Fold. Three broken review units that failed within a day or two does not bode well for the device at all. It's not known if reviewers received a bad batch of the device or if units going out to customers will experience the same issues, but anyone considering a purchase should be aware of these failures.

Samsung's Galaxy Fold costs a whopping $1,980, which is a sensationally high price even for a device that works. Right now, Samsung is accepting pre-orders for the Galaxy Fold on carrier sites, and the first retail units are expected to be available to customers on April 26.


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Leaked Renders Allegedly Reveal Samsung’s Foldable Phone Hours Ahead of Launch Event

Alleged leaked renders of Samsung's soon-to-be-unveiled foldable smartphone have emerged online ahead of the company's Unpacked product launch event on Wednesday.

Samsung has been teasing its upcoming "Galaxy Fold" phone for some time and demoed a prototype of the device back in November, but coming just hours before the company's launch event, these images via Slashleaks could be the real deal.


The Galaxy Fold features Samsung's new Infinity Flex display technology, and assuming no major changes since November, we can expect a device with a 7.3-inch display that can be folded in half, collapsing from a tablet size down to a 4.6-inch smartphone size.

Judging from the renders, the phone has a notch in the upper right corner of the display for the front-facing camera, and a dual-lens setup on the corresponding upper rear-side of the chassis.

Samsung is developing a new software platform for the device in partnership with Google, which is designed to support two UIs – one for when the device is open and one for when the device is closed – and will allow apps to orient into three possible layouts. A price tag as high as $1,800 was rumored for the phone in November, although Samsung may not have finalized costs at the time.


Following Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi revealed that they too will launch folding smartphones, and there are plenty of signs Apple is looking into the possibility of a foldable iPhone. Apple has filed several patent applications related to folding phones that variously fold inward, outward, and both inward and outward.

Apple supplier LG Display is said to have created a dedicated task force to start developing a foldable OLED display for a future iPhone, while its sister company LG Innotek reportedly has a team developing a rigid flexible printed circuit board or (RFPCB) to go along with it.

Samsung's Galaxy Fold will officially debut at its February 20 event, where we can also expect the launch of the new Galaxy S10 smartphone lineup. Samsung's Unpacked event starts at 11.00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California, with a simultaneous launch event to be held in London at 7.00 p.m. GMT.


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